Faith and Service

Faith, Our Foundation and Our Future

This was our founder’s view. Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill stood on the grounds that would become our campus and declared, “Beauty will attract them here, goodness will lead them, but the truth will hold them.”

All who are drawn to the University of San Diego share a passion for beauty, a desire to share in community with others, and a determination to seek knowledge and truth.

The St. Francis statue in the Garden of the Sea at the University of San Diego

A Catholic University

At the University of San Diego, all our studies and our work are a reflection of faith. Faith is not a tired, rote point of view, but a lively and active response to all that is good. It informs our vision, our values and the way we pursue knowledge.

As a Catholic university, we feel called to make a welcoming place for everyone. The word “catholic,” after all, means universal. The University of San Diego welcomes students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds, religious or otherwise, as invaluable contributors to our mission.

Learn more about what it means for USD to be a Catholic university.

How will faith impact your experience as a student?

As a Catholic university, USD offers a place like no other to ask the big questions.

Your professors will inspire and challenge you to see the world through new perspectives. Your peers will study, work and grow alongside you. Staff are there to support you, and help you stay grounded. But ultimately, it's up to you! How will you choose to grow? What do you believe? How will you choose to live? Where will you find purpose, meaning and fulfillment? The University of San Diego is a place to seek the answers.

Begin quote “The truth is yours, O God, wherever it is found.” – St. Augustine


As a contemporary Catholic university, USD is both in touch with a rich tradition and concerned with the urgent needs of today’s world. To engage with the world in a whole-hearted and productive way requires an education that reaches below the surface, and examines the heart of things. Whether in the classroom or out in the community, students develop an awareness of the needs of others, and the challenges facing the world.

This spirit of service takes USD students into the San Diego community, south of the border and to the far-flung corners of the world.

Learn more about service and social justice opportunities.

Students pouring paint in Tijuana

Opportunities to Grow and Serve

  • Weekend trips to work alongside our neighbors in Tijuana, Mexico
  • Cook dinner for the local homeless community through Rachel's Night Shelter
  • Immersion trips to East Los Angeles
  • Trips to the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Honduras, and more
Begin quote The university embraces the Catholic moral and social tradition by its commitment to serve with compassion, to foster peace and to work for justice. – USD's Core Values


Liturgy is at the heart of our faith community. We come together in prayer each Sunday and at major university celebrations, receiving strength from the presence of God in the Word, Sacrament, and community. During these dynamic celebrations the campus community is renewed and refreshed to put our faith into action.

Learn more about worship at USD.

Keep Exploring

Above are just some of the ways that USD's Catholic character informs the student experience. Browse below for more areas of the university that put a particular emphasis on exploring faith.